I've been trying to do so many different things lately. Having recently finished (most of) the Blogging Your Way class, I've been thinking a lot about how to improve this blog, what I want to achieve with it and most of all, what is it that I'm passionate about and want to pursue. As you may have noticed, I've changed the layout of the blog and made some slight tweaks, begun to consciously style my photos a bit more and put effort into taking good pictures. I've got a lot more room for improvement obviously, but I'm really grateful for and blessed by all the encouragement that I've gotten from friends and visitors to this blog. It makes me want to do more, and create even more beautiful things and images. I'd especially like to thank Arianna of Arianna Interiors, who featured my blog yesterday here. I'm sooo excited cos it's the first time I've ever been featured on someone else's blog! :) I met the lovely Arianna together with a group of other design bloggers, who are forming dbcollective (Design Bloggers Collective) as a way to further promote design blogs and the design community.
Another thing keeping me busy is Pinterest, a new visual bookmarking/cataloguing site. Check it out if you haven't already, it's addictive! I've been surfing relentlessly and 'pinning' things rabidly. My pins and boards can be found here or follow the link on the right column. There's so much more I want to do, like take time to properly look through all my fellow BYW classmates' blogs and do more 'discovery' research, read up on photography techniques, just read (the new Jasper Fforde!), pick up my flower arrangements again, and of course bake and cook!
Speaking of which, I haven't made ice-cream in a while. In fact, it's been really long since my freezer bowl cracked and leaked weird blue fluid (which was quite a while back). The replacement bowl has been sitting around for a while now and I thought it was about time for a christening. I eyed some pears and thought to myself that they'd make a great refreshing sorbet. I'll just pretend it's still summer.
To kick it up a notch (a la Emeril), I wanted to add more flavours to the pears. Initially, I wanted to pair the pear (no pun intended) with ginger in order to spice it up but I didn't have any ginger in the house. What I did have was my newly acquired mint plant (now dead sadly) and some lime, which I thought would really enhance the delicate flavour of the pear. I'm a big fan of lime, vs lemon, as I feel like there's that extra fragrance to it. True enough, the sorbet was heavenly, light yet with a creamy texture from the pear flesh, gently spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and laced with the refreshing notes of mint and a hint of lime. I also put together a simple verrine dessert, as per the serving suggestion below. Enjoy!
Pear Sorbet, with Mint & Lime
(makes about 500ml, my ice-cream maker is a 0.6L)
4 pears, peeled and cubed
70g caster sugar
70g glucose (replace with sugar if unavailable)
half a lime (you will need both the juice and the zest)
3-4 sprigs of mint
half tsp nutmeg
half tsp cinnamon
(the spices are really to taste, so it's up to you how much or little you want to put)
Heat the sugar, glucose and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
When the sugar has melted, and the syrup is simmering, add the diced pears and spices into the sugar syrup. Squeeze the lime into the mixture (retain the lime, as you'd need the zest later). Turn the heat down to low.
Take the saucepan off the heat once pears have softened. This should take about 10 minutes.
Add the mint leaves to the mixture and grate the zest of the lime into it. Let this steep to impart their flavours while the mixture is cooling. You don't want to add the mint and zest during the cooking process (or while the mixture is very hot) as the flavours will be over-extracted and become bitter. Let the mixture cool for about an hour.
Remove the mint and puree the mixture. I used a hand blender, but I suppose you can use a food processor or stand blender as well, as long as the mixture is turned into a smooth puree. Transfer into a container and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Turn on your ice-cream maker as per your manufacturer's instructions (if using a freezer bowl or disc type, this should be placed in the freezer at least overnight, I usually just keep mine in the freezer whenever I'm not using it).
Pour chilled mixture into freezer bowl and churn. If your bowl is chilled enough, this should not take more than 15 minutes to churn into a frozen mixture. The longer you allow the machine to churn, the more likelihood of bigger ice crystals which will result in an unsmooth ice-cream. So you'd ideally want a cold machine that will do the job fast.
Spoon sorbet into a container and store in freezer or serve immediately.
Speculoos biscuits, crushed
Pears, cut into small cubes (I soak these in a lemon-water mixture to prevent oxidation)
Spoon 2 tsps of crushed speculoos into a transparent serving glass.
Add 2 tsps of chopped pears.
Top with a scoop of pear sorbet.
Garnish with a sprig of mint and some wafers.